Guidebook

Climb all the 14ers in Colorado's Sawatch Range

The Sawatch Range is home to the highest concentration of 14ers in the state of Colorado.

Description

Colorado's Sawatch Mountain Range is home to the highest concentration of 14ers in the state! The Sawatch Range boasts 15 peaks over 14,000 feet, including Mount Elbert, the tallest mountain in Colorado at 14,440 feet above sea level. The range also forms the Continental Divide, splitting the watersheds of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This long line of vaulted peaks is, objectively, one of the largest and most majestic collections of mountains in the country, and indeed, the world.

Rubbly, scree-filled summits characterize the peaks of the Sawatch. Unlike other mountain ranges in Colorado that offer aesthetic rock fins and slabs of uplifted granite to climb, the surface of the mountains in the Sawatch are generally loose and shifting, with rocks tumbling around you as you climb and dirt shifting below your feet.

The loose soil and stacked rocks don't make the region any less beautiful, though: the scenery from the tallest mountains in the country is to die for. As you near (and reach) the summit of one of these mountains, you'll enjoy a sweeping panorama of Rocky Mountain peaks spread around you in all directions. Unlike some of the Front Range 14ers that offer views of flat plains, the views from the Sawatch peaks consist of mountains, mountains, and more mountains as far as the eye can see.

The high concentration of 14ers in the Sawatch Range led to the creation of the Nolan's 14 trail running challenge. Nolan's 14 "is a run over the 14 summits over 14,000 ft. in Colorado's Sawatch Range, from Mt. Massive to Mt. Shavano in either direction," according to MattMahoney.net. "You can choose your own route between summits, but the most practical routes have been estimated to be 88 to 106 miles with 44,000 ft. of climb. Cutoff is 60 hours to the last summit," he continues. The only Sawatch summit left out of the challenge is Mount of the Holy Cross. Nolan's 14 is now regarded as one of the most difficult trail running challenges in the world, and as such, has gained a true cult following.

Whether you choose to run 14 of the 15 peaks in a 60-hour window or instead, merely opt to climb one or two at a time like a sane person, the soaring mountains of the Sawatch Range will inspire you with their majesty and rugged beauty!

Mt. Elbert - Southeast Ridge
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mt. Elbert - Southeast Ridge

Leadville
5 - 6 hrs
15.9 km
1,586 m
1,586 m
At 14,433', Mt. Elbert is the tallest mountain in Colorado, and second tallest in the lower 48 states, making its summit a much sought-after destination.
Severe
Private
Mt. Massive - Southwest Slope
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mt. Massive - Southwest Slope

Leadville
4 - 5 hrs
11.8 km
1,185 m
1,185 m
The Southwest Slopes route is the perfect way to summit 14,421' Mt. Massive: short, steep and secluded.
Severe
Private
Mount Harvard - South Slope
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Harvard - South Slope

Buena Vista
20.5 km
1,377 m
This 14-mile roundtrip hike to the 14,420' summit of Mt. Harvard, complete with a final scramble up the summit-block, is truly a top-notch 14er experience!
Easy
Private
La Plata Peak - Northwest Ridge
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

La Plata Peak - Northwest Ridge

Aspen Summer
14.7 km
1,347 m
14,336-foot La Plata Peak's Northwest Ridge Route may be the “standard” route, but it is certainly an above average hike!
Easy
Private
Mount Antero: Little Browns Creek
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Antero: Little Browns Creek

Salida
25.5 km
1,674 m
The most scenic and adventurous route to the summit of Mount Antero.
Easy
Private
Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak

Salida
16.7 km
1,630 m
One of the most easily-accessible trailheads in Chaffee County leads to two of Colorado's famous 14ers.
Easy
Private
Mount Princeton
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Princeton

Buena Vista
21.3 km
1,580 m
A climb to the summit of the most visibly-impressive 14er in Chaffee County.
Easy
Private
Belford-Oxford Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Belford-Oxford Loop

Buena Vista
6 - 7 hrs
18.6 km
1,757 m
1,757 m
Two 14er summits, a beautiful pass, and 6,146' elevation gain over 12.2 miles is a wonderful way to spend a day in the Sawatch Range.
Severe
Private
Mount Yale
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Yale

Buena Vista
13.3 km
1,300 m
Buena Vista's backyard 14er offers a challenging climb with a rewarding summit view.
Easy
Private
Mt. Columbia - East Ridge
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mt. Columbia - East Ridge

Buena Vista
18.8 km
1,625 m
Avoid the crowds and utilize route finding skills by trekking the East Ridge route to summit 14,073' Mt. Columbia.
Easy
Private
Missouri Mountain
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Missouri Mountain

Buena Vista
16.2 km
1,377 m
An autumn backpacking excursion in Missouri Gulch is the best way to experience the splendor of 14,067' Missouri Mountain.
Easy
Private
Mount of the Holy Cross
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount of the Holy Cross

17.7 km
1,710 m
14,005' Mount of the Holy Cross stands alone as the farthest north 14er in the Sawatch Range.
Easy
Private
Huron Peak - Northwest Slopes
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Huron Peak - Northwest Slopes

Buena Vista
3 - 4 hrs
10.5 km
1,030 m
1,030 m
Second lowest in stature, 14,003' Huron Peak is second-to-none in sheer beauty.
Severe
Private